The Banff 2018 International Induced Seismicity Workshop took place October 24-27, 2018 and was hosted jointly by the Canadian Induced Seismicity Collaboration and the Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources. It featured an international and diverse audience consisting of members of government and academia as well as attendees from the oil and gas, mining and geothermal industries. For some attendees, the location of Banff held historical significance; the first International Conference on Induced Seismicity was held there in 1975. The Workshop was also the latest in a series of more recent induced seismicity workshops held by the CSUR.
Although induced seismicity remains an important topic years later, the science and research surrounding it has certainly evolved. One speaker, Stu Venebles of the BC OGC, opened with a quote by Albert Einstein “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. It is clear from listening to these talks and taking in the research presented through posters that our thinking and understanding of induced seismicity has changed and will continue to change.
One notable change is the impact that induced seismicity from hydraulic fracturing and disposal is having on North American hazard maps. Historically, the USGS has issued hazard maps that impact long-term building codes. The steep increase in seismicity in areas such as Oklahoma from waste water disposal and emerging development in the STACK/SCOOP has led to the development of one-year hazard forecasts.
The emergence of industrial seismicity has also been difficult for energy regulators who are adapting to changing operational, economic and social situations. Ohio is one state that has been forced to quickly develop monitoring networks to manage seismicity in an area with little historical activity, and is looking to Alberta and British Columbia as examples of thoughtful regulation.
The adaptation of technology was also a key theme with machine learning at the forefront. With an entire session dedicated to data mining techniques, it was illustrated that machine learning is being utilized to explore spatial controls on seismicity and is being adapted to a process that changes through time.
One last change is that companies are now collaborating, making their data available, and sharing their internal hazard assessment and operational processes, which is benefiting the larger community. The papers presented in this special edition of the CSEG RECORDER reflect this point and embody the advances in the understanding and management of induced seismicity in oil and gas operations.
Firstly, key organizers of the Workshop, David Eaton and Gail Atkinson, provide a summary of the Banff workshop and provide additional access to the abstracts and available conference publications. I urge you to peruse the material for a fuller appreciation of the ground that has been covered since the first workshop back in 1975.
Sepideh Karimi and Dario Baturan’s article Real-time induced seismicity forecasting and risk management utilizing research-grade seismic catalogs, looks back on work done by others in estimating maximum magnitude. It puts these methodologies to the test in a risk management context using data from real case studies played in real-time and presented in relatable dashboards. The authors outline the model sensitivities and requirements for data collection and processing.
The last article by John Nieto et al., Managing induced seismicity in Canbriam’s Altares Field in the Montney Formation, N.E. British Columbia – an update, shows the application of predictive models in an operational context and outlines the work that has been done to effectively understand and manage seismicity in a variable structural setting. The article provides insights into Canbriam’s internal hazard assessment and management processes and describes a shining example of a success story in active induced seismicity management.
I hope that these articles inform and inspire your work. I anticipate that we will see even further positive change at the next Induced Seismicity Workshop, wherever it may be!
About the Author(s)
Paige Mamer started her career at Encana, where she worked on induced seismicity in the Horn River Basin and developed protocols that helped shape industry understanding and response. She later worked at MicroSeismic, Inc. on microseismic interpretation and induced seismicity monitoring projects, and at Itasca-Image, where she led the development of an induced seismicity monitoring service. Paige now consults on microseismic and induced seismicity projects in Canada and the US in both the oil and gas and mining industries. Paige obtained her Bachelor’s and Masters degrees from Queen’s University in Geological Engineering. It was her thesis work that sparked her interest in microseismic and Induced Seismicity (and brought her nearly 8000 ft underground).